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Tooru Furuya (right) and his translator answering the audience's question

Last weekend, KAORI Nusantara’s correspondent in Australia got an opportunity to attend another one of Australia’s anime convention, Melbourne’s Anime Manga and Games show or Animaga.

This year’s Animaga took place on August 27-28, 2016. It was held in the Melbourne Showgrounds, Australia. Animaga’s mission is to bring Anime, Manga, the latest games, fashion and Japan pop culture in a fan-driven convention.

Fans lined up for the gate opening
Fans lined up for the gate opening

The first day started at 8.00 AM. Visitors began collecting their passes and hung out with other fans in the area. What was interesting in an Australian pop culture event, compared to Indonesian conventions, is that most visitors werw already in their cosplay getup before they went to the convention. While lining up, visitors could buy some breakfast on the food trucks or see some sick Itasha

In anime-related events, especially at outdoor spaces, whether it is in Akihabara, Osaka’s Nipponbashi, Jakarta or Melbourne, you can be sure to find some slick otaride a.k.a Itasha on display.

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The Hall of Building 1
The Hall of Building 1

The convention was split into two buildings. The first building is a multipurpose area. In the first building there was an Artist Alley where artists around Melbourne showcase their works and gather some profit from their works. Wanna buy some merchandise? There are several shops in the Exhibitor Hall where you can buy your favorite merchandise from your favorite retailer. There are Alternate Worlds comic retailer, Hanabee Entertainment and Siren Visuals/Glass Doll films for your blu-ray collection. One Stop Anime and Gundam Universe for your favorite collectibles and many more.

Visitors learing to play Pokemon card game
Visitors learing to play Pokemon card game
Some of the games that being played at the VG area
Some of the games that being played at the VG area

After walking around the Exhibitor Hall and Artist Alley, visitors could go to drawing area if they wanted to draw in the expo. Visitors could also visit the Gunpla workshop for a crash course about Gunpla. Or there was a VG area where visitors could play lots of video games in the convention. Next to the Gunpla Workshop, a Card Game area provided a place where fans can duel themselves with other fans or learn about card games like Yu-Gi-Oh, Vanguard or Weiss Schwarz. For those who wanted to learn something can go to the panel stage in the middle of the hall.

A contestant performs at the Anime Idol Competition
A contestant performs at the Anime Idol Competition
Hitomi and the maids of Animaga Maid Cafe having a session on the panel stage
Hitomi and the maids of Animaga Maid Cafe having a session on the panel stage

The Panel Stage, was not only reserved for panels. There were some competitions and stage shows held in here. In the morning, there was an Anime Idol Competition where participants could take the stage and perform a song. Winning participants received prize and certificate. In the evening, Hitomi and the girls from Animaga Maid Cafe were having a dance session. In this session, people had the opportunity to interact with the girls of Animaga Maid Cafe and Akihabara’s @home Maid Cafe President and Head Maid, Hitomi.

In front of the Exhibitor Hall, there was a Tokyo Otaku Mode store which sold a very limited edition merchandise from Tokyo Otaku Mode. In the same store, there was a Tony Taka and Animareal Artwork Exhibition. The exhibition showcased some of the works from Professional Character Designer Tony Taka and Ultra-realistic Anime photography from Animareal.

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Tony Taka (or Tony) is an Artist from Japan who designs the character from Shining Series. Aside from being a character designer, he also draws various Illustrations for games and visual novel, especially R-18 series. He also creates various Doujinshi (R-18) throughout his career.

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Animareal Project is a team of dedicated artist to recreate Anime and Manga scenes into the real life. The name itself is an abbreviation from Anime and Real. Using state-of-the-art technology, skills and passion, they are bringing Anime and Manga scenes into a realistic photography as close as possible from the source material. More examples of Animareal’s works can be seen on their site at Animareal.com.

The second building consisted of the main stage, Animaga Maid Cafe and a signing area for the guest stars. There were many guests from various fields. First, there was Ryoko Shiraishi, the voice actress whose resume includes Hayate Ayasaki from Hayate the Combat Butler, Angelica from Fate/Kaleid Prisma Illya 3rei!, Hime Onizuka from SKET Dance and many more. Another guest from voice acting field was Toru Furuya, the voice behind Amuro Ray from Mobile Suit Gundam series, Pegasus Seiya from Saint Seiya, and his current character: Sabo from One Piece.

Other than the voice actors, there were two professional cosplayers; YUI from Hong Kong and Kaname from Japan. They came to Melboure to see their fans and did judging for the cosplay competition.

Ryoko Shiraishi meeting her fans at the main stage
Ryoko Shiraishi met her fans at the main stage

The first meet & greet session was with Ryoko Shiraishi. During the session, fans could ask anything about her, as long they were reasonable questions, and some people asked her to redo famous scene from her characters. Some questions were simple questions like “how is Australia?” “Have you tried timtam” or “do you remember the monkey character from Gintama that has a really long name so long there was a single session of the credit was only for the monkey”. Some were related to her career like “how can you voice male chara like Hayate Ayasaki?” and “What was on your mind while playing Macaron from Amagi Brilliant Park“. She also did redo some lines. One was from Hayate, One was Himeko’s tsukkomi from SKET Dance.

Tooru Furuya (right) and his translator answering the audience's question
Tooru Furuya (right) and his translator answering the audience’s question

The next session was Toru Furuya’s Q&A session. Even though Tooru Furuya is 63 years old, he was as energetic as he was in his prime! Tooru Furuya is the man behind Amuro Ray from Mobile Suit Gundam Series, Pegasus Seiya from Saint Seiya, Tuxedo Mask from Sailor Moon and currently, he provides the voice of Sabo from One Piece.

The rules are same as Ryoko’s Q&A session. Of course, because he’s the voice behind Amuro, the main character of Mobile Suit Gundam series, everyone asked questions around it. Interestingly, he also played the young boy Amuro in Gundam Origin. While Amuro in that movie was a kid, he was voiced by a 63-years old man. He also told us that playing Amuro is pretty much the main reason he can feed his family. “Thank You Amuro”.

Not only notable as Amuro, he is also the man behind Pegasus Seiya from Saint Seiya. Because Saint Seiya was a childhood favorite of mine, I asked him to do the Pegasus Punch.

Another notable character is Amuro Tohru from Detective Conan Series. In this video, he direcly interact with a fan as Amuro Tohru.

(say hello to the maids and butlers of Animaga Maid Café)
(Say hello to the maids and butlers of Animaga Maid Café)

Tired walking around Animaga? Need some rest? Don’t fret!  Cute maids and handsome butlers at Animaga Maid Cafe welcomed patrons home! It’s on the same building as the main stage so one could just turn down a bit and relax there. Not to mention, there was a special guest from Akihabara’s @home Maid Cafe. Hitomi, the President and the Head Maid of @home Maid Cafe was also attending the floor! For the full report of the maid cafe, head to this special report : The Special Experience with Hitomi.

Deresute mini competition at Animaga
Deresute mini competition at Animaga

At the VG area, there was a small The Idolm@ster Cinderella Girls: Starlight Stage mini competition. Producers (that’s how the game call the players) gathered around the VG Area and tried their best to show off their skill at the game. The rules are simple: using up to SR character, post your best score at the selected song. Top 6 players went to a medley where the winners received a prize. The audition was really hot. A player managed to reach 810k score using SR CARDS ONLY!

On day 2, something unexpected happens: a group of fans cosplaying as characters from the anime series Haikyuu! were playing volleyball at the venue.

the Animaga Cosplay Competition Finalists
the Animaga Cosplay Competition Finalists

At the end of the day, A Japanese Pop Culture Con wouldn’t be complete if there was no cosplay competition. Animaga Cosplay Competition revved up the main stage. There were two types of competition, one is a Coswalk and the other one was a Skit. Judged by professionals, the cosplay competition was tearing the roofs up from Animaga.

The Indonesian Anime Times | Report by Naufal B. Pawenang for The Indonesian Anime Times | Photos by Naufal B. Pawenang

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